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Tips to Building an Engaged Board

  
  
  

An organization’s board is a key ingredient to increasing a nonprofit’s impact in its community – and having the right people on the board is critical to the success of the organization.

During Campbell & Company’s 38 years, we have debated whether nonprofit boards should have term limits. And in the larger nonprofit community, this is a widely debated topic. Essentially, I favor term limits.  I believe that by having term limits, an organization is forced to have to continually work on building and developing its board, and as a result this leads to stronger board development and engagement practices.  Among the many benefits of having term limits include: fresh energy and perspectives from new board members, avoiding “board member burnout”, and expansion of constituency and expertise.

Here are a few board development tips that will impact the engagement level of your governing board:

  1. Make the board development committee central to the working of the board. This group, which should include the board chair, the CEO and the chief development officer – among others – should be charged with developing and sustaining a great board.
     
  2. Develop clear criteria, including providing expectations, for all prospective board members.  Knowing what kind of trustee you are looking for will impact your ability to identify strong candidates.
     
  3. Establish a strong list of potential trustees. Many boards become weaker when there are no good candidates and there are vacancies to be filled. It is important for your board to develop a list of potential members who fit the culture and vision of the organization.
     
  4. Meet with prospective board members, in person, at least once before inviting them to consider serving as a trustee. Make sure you review the benefits (impact on mission) and responsibilities all trustees have before asking a candidate to serve.
     
  5. Create a strong orientation program.  In order for board members to succeed, they need to understand the organization. And having an effective orientation programs get them off to a good start. Examples can include special tours, meeting organization staff and leadership, attending events.
     
  6. Assign new board members to at least one committee. Serving on a committee will engage new trustees at a ground level, allowing them to meet people and make a difference. Learn about your board members’ interests and talents, and try to assign them appropriately.
     
  7. Evaluate trustee involvement (and effectiveness) annually. Many board develop a scorecard to measure the performance of board members on key indicators: meeting attendance, committee participation, financial support. This can be a guide to use when evaluating trustees. Remember a scorecard does not tell the whole story.
     
  8. Meet with board members annually to receive their feedback on the quality of their engagement. This is easier said than done, but can go a long way toward either keeping trustees engaged or beginning the process of considering whether a particular trustee might consider resigning his or her position to someone who is better suited to the job.

It is true, a board can do all these things whether the organization has term limits or not.  But the recruitment cycle term limits impose tend to focus boards more toward board development, and good board development is a critical key to creating and sustaining an engaged board.

Peter Fissinger is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Campbell & Company. 

Balanced Scorecard: Aligning Resources and Process with Outcomes

  
  
  

Ever wonder whether your organization’s activities are in sync with your mission and vision? It is common for organizations to know where they want to be without knowing how to get there. Ever get push back from staff, who question the strategy behind their action items? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you might consider creating and using a balanced scorecard.

Carrie Dahlquist, Director of Strategic Information Services, for Campbell & Company takes aBalancedScorecardNonprofit moment to discuss the benefits of developing scorecards. But first, let’s take a look at the roots of the concept and its purpose.

What is Balanced Scorecard?
The term “balanced scorecard” grew out of performance measurement work at General Electric in the 1950s and was refined in the 1990s by Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton as a performance measurement tool that included strategic non-financial performance measures and traditional financial metrics.

In addition to being a strategic planning and management process, the balanced scorecard is used to streamline the vision of the organization with its business activities.

A balanced scorecard can be used as a management tool to evaluate performance and motivate staff. It can ensure that you are spending manpower and financial resources in a way that can yield the most impact. In essence, the scorecard allows you develop razor-like clarity for prioritizing activities and transforming them into outcomes.

So, How Do you Develop Balanced Scorecard?
Start with Perspectives. The key to developing the balanced scorecard is to identify activities that support the organization’s mission and vision and can be tracked and measured. These activities fall into four perspectives: financial, stakeholders, operations and learning/growth and are based on the mission and vision of the organization. To help develop a scorecard that is most effective, the organization begins the process by asking questions like:

  • What financial steps are necessary to execute strategy?
  • Who are the constituents, and how can they be engaged?
  • What technology can improve and streamline processes?
  • What learning and growth tools will help our staff complete their initiatives?

The balanced scorecard process involves a series of steps to help an organization come up with its own unique approach to answering these questions. It empowers an organization to align its daily operations with its mission and vision and develop measurable goals to move forward deliberately.

The outcome of the exercise is a laser-focused “roadmap”, with objectives, targets, and metrics, which help an organization communicate where it wants to go and how it wants to get there. Some examples could include:

  • Grow financial diversity by targeting 20 new planned gifts each year through a new planned giving partner program.
  • Maximize stakeholder participation by targeting 100 peer-to-peer solicitations through an outreach and engagement committee.
  • Reduce the number of sick days taken by 20% through a new flex work policy.

Specific metrics should be measurable and repeatable, with a mix of leading (relates to inputs) and lagging (relates to outputs) indicators.

Implementing the Balanced Scorecard
Because the balanced scorecard process is comprehensive, organizations considering the approach should make sure they have the resources needed to be successful. In addition to a dedicated project manager who can move the process forward there needs to be a project champion who has strong organization-wide influence.

And while the organization’s leadership should provide direction and support, Ms. Dahlquist stresses that different roles and vantage points are critical, so it is important to be thoughtful in selection of the project team, which should include both management and staff.

Goals should “cascade down”, starting at the organizational level, then by department, team and the individual. Staff performance reviews should reflect completion of specific scoreboard action items.

Implementing a balanced scorecard requires organizational commitment and can involve significant time to develop. To ensure that the scorecard doesn’t reside (and stagnate) in management’s office, the project must be relevant and accessible. Metrics and results should be collected, analyzed, reported and archived regularly. Stakeholders should have ready access to data and use analytics to make continual adjustments and improvements monthly or quarterly. This helps foster the dialogue and establish a higher level of transparency.

Putting this process in place encourages stakeholders to consider how individual roles help drive the success of the organization as a whole—a crucial component for all organizations in achieving their vision, and fulfilling their mission.

Want to learn more? Contact Carrie Dahlquist, Director of Strategic Information Services, or listen to a recent webinar on Creating and Managing Balanced Scorecards.

About Campbell & Company

Campbell & Company is a national consulting firm offering advancement planning, fundraising, communications and executive search services for nonprofit organizations in the education, health and medicine, arts and culture, environment, social service, and professional society fields.

Through thirty-plus years and thousands of engagements, we have helped nonprofit organizations anticipate and manage the challenges of the philanthropic marketplace. With offices around the country, Campbell & Company brings you the benefits of local knowledge, and national best practices.

Nonprofit Leaders Respond to Giving USA 2014 Findings

  
  
  

Campbell & Company presented findings and analysis of Giving USA 2014, the annual report on philanthropy, to more than 1,200 nonprofit professionals at a national webinar, a Pacific Northwest webinar hosted by the Collins Group, a division of Campbell & Company, and events in Chicago, Cleveland, Nashville, Washington, DC, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. 

The report found that American philanthropy continued its steady recovery from the Great Recession in 2013 and is on track to return to pre-recession levels as soon as 2014. Event panelists and participants shared success stories and challenges from the past year, focusing in on factors that may affect organizations’ success in the long-term as philanthropy continues to recover, such as navigating corporate giving programs, building membership and crafting strong cases of support that speak to donors on all levels.  

Below, we summarize key insights shared in our national webinar and events.

Common Challenges

While success stories were prevalent this year, many panelists and participants described the various challenges involved in organizational growth, including maintaining donor relationships, navigating new partnerships, communicating effectively with new constituents and continuing to build urgent and compelling cases for private support. Others described the difficult balancing act of aligning human capital with philanthropic goals, including appropriately leveraging different giving sources (individual, corporate, foundation, etc.) and not creating an over-reliance on one area of support.

Keys to Success

Organizational representatives described steps their institutions had taken to ensure their sustainability and growth over the past year, including:

  • Offering more opportunities than ever for donors to give, including layered initiatives

  • Maintaining a donor-centered focus in which organizations listen closely to their constituents and respond to their interests, motivations and needs

  • Building long-lasting philanthropic relationships with key individual and institutional donors to ensure mutual benefit—and ensuring these relationships are organizationally, not personally, held

  • Crafting a powerful yet flexible case for support, including concrete and relatable evidence of organizational impact, that can be tailored for distinct constituencies

A Look to the Long-Term

Panelists had encouraging words about philanthropy’s continued recovery as well as organizational and sector-specific growth. However, they cautioned their peers not to lose sight of the longer-term downward trend in government funding for nonprofits and implored attendees to continue focusing on cultivating strong donor relationships in the private sector.

Campbell & Company thanks all of the organizations and non-profit leaders for their involvement in the Giving USA events. Click here for a list of all of the events.

Click here to listen to Campbell & Company’s Giving USA 2014 webinar.

About Campbell & Company
Campbell & Company is a national consulting firm offering advancement planning, fundraising, marketing communications and executive search services to nonprofit organizations in nearly every sector. Through thirty-eight years and more than a couple thousand engagements, we helped our clients anticipate and manage the challenges of the philanthropic marketplace. Our offices are located in Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.campbellcompany.com.  

About Giving USA Foundation™

Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA Foundation™, which was established by the Giving Institute to advance philanthropy through research and education. Headquartered in Chicago, the Foundation publishes data and trends about charitable giving through its seminal publication, Giving USA, which has documented who gives what to whom for more than 50 years, and quarterly newsletters on philanthropy-related topics. To learn more visit www.givinginstitute.org.

How to obtain Giving USA 2014

Giving USA is the most up to date and comprehensive report on American philanthropy. The Giving USA 2014 Reports Highlights can be downloaded FREE online at www.givingusareports.org. Other products include the complete report – now available in paperback; a “Giving USA Spotlight;” the Giving USA data tables; and a digital package, which includes a graph pack of PowerPoint slides for board meetings. Use code: GI1430 to receive 30% off. A limited run of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 complete report in paperback is also available!

Performance Metrics – Beyond The Visits

  
  
  

In her landmark college text on fundraising, “Effective Fund-Raising Management”, Dr. Kathleen Kelly - Winner of the 1998 Staley/Robeson/Ryan/St. Lawrence Prize for Research on Fund-Raising and Philanthropy - states, “The third most important issue facing fundraising - following the need to define who is a fundraiser and to reduce misunderstanding about philanthropy – is how the function should be evaluated.”  Performance Metrics

For decades following the formal establishment of development as a staff function in the 1970’s, managers have struggled with how to establish performance goals that helped fundraisers successfully reach the objectives  of their nonprofit organizations.  Because fundraising is not an exact science, and because people make major philanthropic commitments for their reasons and not the organization’s (that’s why we call them gifts), most fundraising managers established target dollar goals with the charge of “Get out there and do the best you can.” 

Since then three things have happened to change that approach: 1) abuse in fundraising costs and gift counting has triggered greater scrutiny of the nonprofit sector at the state and federal level; 2) major and planned giving development positions focused on working with high value prospects now command the highest non-management salaries and are in great demand; and 3) the Great Recession has forced boards and managers to pay more attention to efficiencies (return on investment and dollars raised per budget dollars spent) which has created greater emphasis on performance metrics. 

Unfortunately, despite these changes, many nonprofit managers have established performance metrics for gift officers focused solely on visits, proposals and dollars raised.  That means that an effective major and planned gift officer who is involved in many important prospecting and cultivation activities would only get credit for about 20% of their work each month.  These metrics then become punitive and discouraging, not motivating.

Core Principals of Major and Planned Giving Programs

Harvard University Director of Training and Education Anne T. Melvin helped the University’s vast major and planned giving program develop new performance metrics by establishing these core principles:

  • Align the development officer’s personal metrics with goals of the organization and its development office

  • Only incentivize activity that is in a development officer’s control

  • Use carrots and not sticks to motivate  

Obviously the needs of an immature or emerging development shop are much different than those of a mature program that raises millions of dollars each year at a large institution.  So the first job for leadership is to determine who you are and what you need – beyond money.  Young and emerging fundraising programs will place much greater emphases on identifying, qualifying and engaging new prospective donors so performance metrics should be established to reflect that activity.  Mature development offices will focus much more on significant moves for each fundraiser’s Top 25 high value prospects with a greater percentage of activity devoted to solicitation. 

Moving From Ignorance to Investment

While an individual’s final giving decision is not in a development officer’s control as stated earlier, American philanthropy has been around long enough that we now have a great deal of research available on why people make large gifts.  These decisions are all fundamentally based on an individual’s belief in the mission of the organization and their desire to make a difference and leave a legacy based on their own personal experiences.  Therefore, each development office should define what it considers to be the activity, in the development officer’s control, that would best move a prospective donor along the emotional continuum from ignorance to investment.  This activity, termed “significant moves” in the fundraising industry, could consist of the following:

  • Prospect visited for the first time – the “discovery call”

  • Send more information to prospects about their interest areas

  • Prospect attends an event

  • 2nd visit

  • Prospect hosts an event

  • Meet the CEO

  • Join a committee

  • Meet with another volunteer

  • 3rd visit

  • Tour the campus/facility

  • Solicit

  • Send a proposal

  • Close the gift

  • Apply appropriate recognition

    It is also important to define things that are not considered significant moves which would include things like – sending a holiday card, sending an email blast along with 200 others, chatting with prospect at an event, sending a hand-written thank you note, etc.

    Finally, in order for development officers to be rewarded and motivated by their personal performance metrics, all significant moves must be entered into a central fundraising database system.  This requires the diligence of the development officer to enter the information consistently and on time and it also requires some time from a database manager or prospect researcher to monitor this input and to generate reports for managers to use in quarterly update meetings with fundraisers.  Any performance metrics program will die a slow death if this database use and support is not put in place.

    We welcome your comments below. Want to learn more? Contact Bruce Matthews, Vice President.

    Campbell & Company is a national consulting firm offering advancement planning, fundraising, communications and executive search services for nonprofit organizations in the education, health and medicine, arts and culture, environment, social service, and professional society fields.

    Through thirty-seven years and thousands of engagements, Campbell & Company has helped nonprofit organizations anticipate and manage the challenges of the philanthropic marketplace. The company maintains offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.campbellcompany.com.

    Are Philanthropic Values Taught? Engaging the Young Donor

      
      
      

    Young PhilanthropistsI recently found myself in a discussion with an experienced and generous philanthropist about younger donors. This person was frustrated with some younger entrepreneurs in his community who have significant wealth but are not involving themselves in the community the way he and other civic leaders believe is responsible.  And so he asked me how philanthropic values are taught, and whether young people today hold the same philanthropic values found in prior generations. 

    Here’s some of what we know: evidence suggests young people, when we account for wealth and education (two significant indicators of giving), are as generous as any generation in history.  In 2008, Campbell & Company partnered with the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University (which was then called The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University) to better understand charitable giving across different generations. The research found that while giving does differ from generation to generation, each generational cohort still has a strong propensity to give.

    We at Campbell & Company are encouraged by the enthusiasm we see among young volunteers and donors at many institutions with which we work. Interestingly, there does appear to be important differences in how some young donors and volunteers operate. Some of the differences, regarding independent behavior, seem connected to the evolution of the virtual world, where there is no one dominant voice but instead ongoing dialogue among virtual communities of people. And because of this, nonprofits, to some degree, have less control over their brand and messaging. The benefit, however, is that young donors are viral; they can become some of your most powerful advocates.

    We also know that philanthropic behavior is learned. In my discussion with the philanthropist, to which I referred earlier, he told me he and his wife are matching gifts 4-1 which their children make to nonprofit organizations of their choice. Naturally, their children are giving more now.  And recently, Campbell & Company funded research at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) examining the impact of student focused philanthropic programs (to be released in the May/June 2014 CASE Currents edition). As might be expected, institutions who invested in student philanthropy programs tended to have more generous and involved younger alumni. 

    Some behaviors, such as short-term giving, found in younger donors may be a result of inexperience.  And, in time, they will most likely moderate certain aspects of their philanthropy to fit longer-term norms. Engaging with this generation is an important strategy for the longevity of nonprofits across the US. It’s important to be bullish on young people and their desire to be generous. 

    By Peter Fissinger, President and CEO, Campbell & Company 

    About Campbell & Company

    Campbell & Company is a national consulting firm offering advancement planning, fundraising, communications and executive search services for nonprofit organizations in the education, health and medicine, arts and culture, environment, social service, and professional society fields.

    Through thirty-plus years and thousands of engagements, we have helped nonprofit organizations anticipate and manage the challenges of the philanthropic marketplace. With offices around the country, Campbell & Company brings you the benefits of local knowledge, and national best practices.

    Facebook Tests New Donate Feature

      
      
      

    facebook what would i say app defaultToday Facebook unveiled a new feature to help nonprofits raise money this holiday season.

    Nineteen nonprofits, including the American Red Cross, Livestrong Foundation, and Unicef, now have the ability to receive donations through their Facebook page with a donation feature. 

    When supporters land on a charity’s Facebook page, they can select the “donate now” button, enter the amount they want to give and their payment information, and share the fact that they gave through their news feed.

    According to Facebook 100 percent of the online contributions will go directly to charity.

    Facebook plans to offer the donate button to all nonprofits soon. The reactions from the fundraising community are varied. Read the complete article.

    Eight Important Trends Impacting Development in Higher Education

      
      
      
    higher edu trendsDr. Loren Anderson, whose career has spanned three institutions, seven development campaigns, and almost $500 million in fundraising, shares his observations on development trends that are impacting higher education.

    During his 20-year term as President of Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Parkland, Washington, the university gained national stature in global education, sustainability, and helping students explore their passion and purpose in life and their role as world citizens. Dr. Anderson holds a B.A. degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN; an M.A. in speech from Michigan State University; and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in communication theory and research. 

    As a spokesperson for private higher education, Dr. Anderson served as a member and board chair of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and of the Independent Colleges of Washington. He served as a board member of the Council of Independent Colleges, the American Council on Education, and the Institute for the International Education of Students. 

    1. Donor pyramids are taller and narrower.

    The 80-20 donor pyramid of giving that once described development campaigns has given way to a 90-10, sometimes a 95-5, model. This change reflects the concentration of wealth and donor capacity in our society. For example, The 50 donors on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual list of the most generous Americans gave an average of $61 million in 2011, compared with $39.6 million the previous year. Collectively, these philanthropists gave $10.4 billion to charitable organizations in 2012.

    In the past, donors who would make a $100,000 gift would be likely to make the same contribution over the next three to five years. “Now there are fewer larger long-term pledge gifts and more smaller one-time gifts,” indicates Dr. Anderson, “We are also seeing a decline in middle range gifts in the amount of $25,000 to $200,000.”  

    Establishing significant relationships with those donors who have the capacity to make very large gifts is thus more important than ever. “Organizations need to focus and carefully prioritize major gift work, as the success of development campaigns increasingly depends on this small and very generous group of donors,” says Dr. Anderson.

    2. Fewer donors are willing to make large 3 to 5 year pledges.

    The dramatic economic swings of the past two decades have impacted donor confidence in the future and, as a result, more major gift donors are choosing to make one-time significant gifts – rather than a three to five year pledge. This is especially true for donors who fund their contributions from annual earnings, as opposed to accumulated assets.  

    As Dr. Anderson notes, “this trend toward one-time gifts and away from multi-year pledges, contributes to the taller/narrower donor pyramid described earlier, as the mid-major gifts in the $25,000 range and up become more difficult to find.”  

    3. Donors are reserving their significant gifts for institutions and organizations with whom they have truly significant relationships.

    Donors are increasingly concentrating their significant giving to those organizations they feel most strongly about, as opposed to spreading their giving across a larger number of nonprofits, a trend which commentators have attributed to shifts in the economic climate and philanthropic culture. 

    “Nonprofits used to expect that donors who gave once would give again, but that has changed as philanthropy has become a more important part of our culture,” he explains. “People with resources are used to being approached by many organizations and they must make choices. They’ll quite naturally choose the organizations they know best and feel most closely toward.”  

    4. Donor designations are more frequent and more precise.

    “Donors increasingly want to designate their gifts to a specific project or cause,” explains Dr. Anderson. “Instead of supporting the next capital project, they want to see the impact their support has for beneficiaries like individual students or children.”  

    This trend changes the structure of campaigns. Campaigns can really package a series of individual projects like a building, endowment, and scholarships. Nonprofits and their development teams need to review their campaign planning and let donors choose specific projects as opposed to making broad appeals.

    5. Women are playing a much larger role, as donors and as leaders.  Couples are making joint decisions about their philanthropy.  Charities are behind the curve.

    Women are more involved in the world of philanthropy as board members, volunteers and development professionals. Most importantly, the number of women donors has increased. A study by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy - Women Give 2010 - found that women at all income levels have the desire and capacity for giving and do give frequently. For instance, of 2,500 households headed by single males or single females, the women were more likely to donate and almost always gave more.

    Couples’ philanthropic decision making has also changed. “It used to be that Bill would take Joe to the golf course, and Joe would decide what he and his wife are going to give,” says Dr. Anderson. “Today, couples make philanthropic decisions together, which means nonprofits have to appeal to the values and interests of both persons.”    

    6. A new "investment culture" increasingly shapes our attitudes (and behavior) toward philanthropy and our expectations regarding charities.

    An increasing number of donors make decisions using a model that considers the “return” on their philanthropic investment. “The attitude that we have about investing for financial return has influenced our attitudes about giving,” says Dr. Anderson. Organizations need to develop stronger cases for philanthropic support, maintain transparency around their budgets and institute professional reporting standards that demonstrate their efficiency and effectiveness.  Donor expectations for more detailed reporting require charities to rethink their management systems, financial management and investment programs.    

    7. Volunteer involvement in development work is decreasing while the reliance on professional staff is increasing.

    According to the Federal Agency for Service and Volunteering in 2011, the number of volunteers reached its highest level in five years, as 64.3 million Americans volunteered with an organization, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010. But finding effective fundraising volunteers is a growing challenge. “People who will roll up their sleeves and become directly involved in development work are few in number” says Dr. Anderson.  He predicts a continuing trend toward the use of development professionals in lieu of a reduced role for volunteers.  

    8. In higher education: loan payments are displacing alumni contributions for a whole generation of younger alums.

    Students and their parents struggle with student loans, which recently exceeded a combined total of $1 trillion. In a sluggish economy and job market, loan payments have taken priority over donations. Dr. Anderson feels the philanthropic community has not been sensitive to these trends. “Every time we ask these young graduates for a financial gift, we are asking them to do something they cannot do,” he says, “We are, in a sense, training them to say no to us.”

    Dr. Anderson advocates rethinking our approach to young alumni, who very often want to donate their time and expertise as volunteers. Examples may include speaking or helping students find internships. “We need to develop a tradition of saying yes,” he explains, “so that when these alumni are ready and able to give financially, a relationship, and a tradition of “giving” had already been built.”

    For a more in-depth look at the higher education industry trends and changes please follow Campbell & Company’s blog and our webinar calendar here.

    The Campbell & Company Higher Education Team understands the context in which higher education institutions operate, and create a structure and process within that context, tailored to your community, that allows philanthropy to grow. For 37 years, we have successfully partnered with a range of higher education institutions, including large public universities, mid-majors, private liberal arts colleges and community colleges. We also draw on our staffs’ experience to develop initiatives for specific higher education segments including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and professional schools.

    Campbell & Company maintains offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC. For more information, please telephone (877) 957-0000 toll free, email info@campbellcompany.com or visit www.campbellcompany.com.  

    Giving USA 2013: Live from NPR Studio 1

      
      
      

    Washington, DC: Campbell & Company with partner AFP DC recently presented findings and analysis of Giving USA 2013 at NPR’s stunning Studio 1. Monique Hanson and Stacy Palmer Campbell & Company Vice President Jeffrey Wilklow presented key findings from the report to an audience of 100, before panelists Monique Hanson, Chief Development Officer at NPR and Stacy Palmer, Editor, The Chronicle of Philanthropy shared their insights into the report’s implications.

    “We are incredibly grateful to NPR for opening their incredible studio to us for the Giving USA 2013 presentation and panel discussion,” said Mr. Wilklow, “and we value the time Monique and Stacy took to share their knowledge and experience. Both are remarkably capable professionals and deep thinkers on all things philanthropic.” 

    The FindingsDC Crowd Shot

    Giving USA 2013 found that American philanthropy continued its slow but steady recovery from the Great Recession in 2012; event panelists found compelling reasons for optimism. Stacy Palmer observed that high-end giving has largely returned to normal levels and that the continued retirement of the Baby Boomer generation would likely drive future growth in giving. She also described significant growth in online giving (15 percent), which is expected to account for an increasingly significant portion of nonprofits’ philanthropic revenue in coming years.

    Key Trends

    Monique Hanson described how nonprofit Boards have become more involved in both prospect research and stewardship, and how development staff have grown increasingly statistics driven, relying on analyses of prospect capacity and giving likelihood to prioritize their efforts and a range of metrics to assess their performance. She also summarized NPR’s efforts focusing its development program on the “donor experience,” assigning each key donor and prospect to a single relationship manager to ensure seamless interaction with the network.

    A Call to Action

    Both panelists described how the nonprofit sector had been a powerful advocate against the charitable deduction cap, which threatened to significantly affect higher-level philanthropic giving, and encouraged organizations to continue raising their voices as debates over tax policy continue. They also urged organizations and individuals to focus on sequestration, the effects of which have not been directly experienced by many organizations. 

    If you would like to receive information about Campbell & Company’s future Giving USA events, please visit our website at www.campbellcompany.com and sign up for our email list.

    Click here to listen to Campbell & Company’s Giving USA 2013 webinar.

    About Campbell & Company
    Campbell & Company is a national consulting firm offering advancement planning, fundraising, marketing communications and executive search services to nonprofit organizations in nearly every sector. Through thirty-seven years and more than a thousand engagements, we helped our clients anticipate and manage the challenges of the philanthropic marketplace. Our offices are located in Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC. For more information, please call toll-free (877) 957-0000, email info@campbellcompany.com or visit www.campbellcompany.com.  

    About Giving USA FoundationTM 
    Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA Foundation™, which was established by the Giving Institute to advance philanthropy through research and education. Headquartered in Chicago, the Foundation publishes data and trends about charitable giving through its seminal publications, GUSA, which has documented who gives what to whom for more than 50 years, and quarterly newsletters on philanthropy-related topics. To learn more, visit www.giviginstitute.org.

    How to Obtain Giving USA 2013
    Giving USA is the longest running and most comprehensive report on American philanthropy. A free executive summary of Giving USA 2013 can be downloaded online at www.givingusareports.org. Other products include the complete report; Giving USA Spotlight – quarterly research reports; and PowerPoint presentations for board meetings. Use the code CAMS1131 to receive 10% off any Giving USA products.

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    American Giving Continues Slow, Consistent Recovery

      
      
      

    Americans gave an estimated $316.23 billion to charitable causes in 2012, representing 3.5 percent growth (1.5 percent adjusted for inflation) from the previous year, according to Giving USA 2013: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. While this continues the trend of growth that we have observed since the recession, the current pace suggests that it could take another six to seven years for giving to return to pre-2008 levels. Because giving closely tracks the economy at large, key economic factors (personal income, personal consumption, employment levels and investment markets) could alter this pace and the overall level of giving further.

    "Overall, growth in giving was restrained. But there are signs that individuals, the largest source of giving, are beginning to consider more asset-based giving. This development could be quite positive going forward," says Peter Fissinger, President & Chief Executive Officer of Campbell & Company, a national fundraising consulting and executive search firm. "By continuing to strategically build relationships with their best donors and prospects, nonprofits can help ensure their sustainability and growth in these challenging times."

    Other key findings from Giving USA 2013 include:

    Giving by Source

    describe the image

    • Individual giving rose to $228.93 billion, a 3.9 percent increase (1.9 percent adjusted for inflation) over 2011. This figure may have been checked by economic uncertainty, which resulted from contrasting positive and negative indicators, including growth in the S&P 500, slightly higher home values, lower unemployment and reduced gas prices coupled with budget and tax reform debates.

    • Corporate giving, including cash gifts, in-kind contributions, and corporate foundation grants and gifts, rose to an estimated $18.15 billion, a 12.2 percent increase (9.9 percent adjusted for inflation) from 2011 levels. Significant in-kind gifts from major pharmaceutical companies drove an appreciable portion of this growth.
       

    Giving by Sector

    Giving by Sector

    About Giving USA Foundation™

    Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA Foundation™, which was established by the Giving Institute to advance philanthropy through research and education. Headquartered in Chicago, the Foundation publishes data and trends about charitable giving through its seminal publication, Giving USA, which has documented who gives what to whom for more than 50 years, and quarterly newsletters on philanthropy-related topics. To learn more visit www.givinginstitute.org.

    How to obtain Giving USA 2013

    Giving USA is the longest running and most comprehensive report on American philanthropy. A free executive summary of Giving USA 2013 can be downloaded online at www.givingusareports.org. Other products include the complete report; Giving USA Spotlight – quarterly research reports; and PowerPoint presentations for board meetings. Use the code CAMS1131 to receive 10% off any Giving USA products. 

    Join the Conversation!

    You can follow and join in the conversation on Twitter using the tag #GivingUSA2013.  

    Campbell & Company is holding Giving USA programs in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC, as well as a national webinar.

    To learn more about our events, click here

    Campbell & Company is a national consulting firm offering advancement planning, fundraising, communications and executive search services for nonprofit organizations in the education, health and medicine, arts and culture, environment, social service, and professional society fields.

    Through thirty-seven years and thousands of engagements, Campbell & Company has helped nonprofit organizations anticipate and manage the challenges of the philanthropic marketplace. The company maintains offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC. For more information, please telephone (877) 957-0000 toll free, email info@campbellcompany.com or visit www.campbellcompany.com.

    Building a Strong, Compelling and Consistent Case for Support

      
      
      

    writingIn Case Development 201, Director of Communications Consulting Andrew Brommel offers  a collection of practical, immediately applicable  “tips and tricks” for building a strong, compelling, and consistent case for support.

    For Brommel, an organization’s case for support is ultimately “your message to your donors—why should they give to your organization?”  He asserts that, “If this is all we ever thought about with a case for support, we’d be fine.”

    Just as a case for support should be comprehensive in reflecting an organization’s vision, it should be a collective effort—one that engages Board members, staff, and leadership in the composing and shaping process. Messaging, Brommel argues, is “the most important. It’s the core … This is where your case comes from, and everything else we’re talking about is secondary to this.”

    Effective messaging should express only one key idea per message, and should have an edge or make an assertion—not “ a statement of something this is universally, obviously true.” Brommel asserts that, in the non-profit sector, “we probably do too much writing, and not enough messaging.”

    Two key benefits of establishing, clear, consistent messaging is that everyone in your organization, from volunteers to Board members, is pulling from the same unified, agreed-upon points, keeping communications consistent. In addition, these messages are endlessly versatile, and are easily transferrable to writing documents, talking points, and PowerPoint, video, or iPad presentations.

    As a sample format for these messages, Brommel suggests you “throw a headline up there, and give it a few supporting points.” While the headline takes a position, each supporting point will elaborate on and clarify this position.

    To write effective, clear messaging of your own, try this process:

    • Write 3-5 messages that simply “get your donor from Point A to Point B,” or from a lack of engagement to deep involvement.

    • To start, establish that an issue exists, and why it matters

    • Then, credential your organization as an effective institution to address the issue. Use this message as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other organizations with similar missions

    • Next, assure potential donors that you have a plan in place that will enact real change

    • Remember, that you can often make a stronger statement by saying less

    In the following examples, Brommel uses pairs of weaker and stronger messages to demonstrate how to build the most effective, specific messages for your organization:

    1. Have conviction. Make a strong statement.

    Weak: Our university helps students build the skills they need to become leaders.

    Stronger: We believe every student has the power to lead.

    2. It’s not about you. It’s about the people you serve.

    Weak: We believe our community needs a healthcare provider committed to caring for us all.

    Stronger: We believe everyone in our community deserves great healthcare.

    3. Think voiceover, not prose. Short and to the point.

    Weak: Among all the ways we can invest in our school’s future, the endowment is the most important, ultimately surpassing the impact of capital and program investments.

    Stronger: The endowment is the most important investment we can make in our school’s future.

    4. Don’t say everything. Say what matters.

    Weak: As a nonprofit, community-based organization, we rely on the philanthropic support of our donors and neighbors to make our work possible.

    Stronger: Only you can make our work possible.

    For more helpful tips on developing a strong case for support, including use of stories and statistics, the three crucial levels to think about in all case development, and more specific examples, watch Andrew Brommel’s webinar, Case Development 201, here.

    Questions? Contact Andrew Brommel at andrew.brommel@campbellcompany.com.

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